Autonomous Clubs are small, temporary, alternating, leaderless groups of independent, interested and active people who are involved in the same subject or the same problem. They control, veto and eventually punish faulty leaders in their private living sphere when these leaders violate the freedom, safety or well-being of the 99%. They force them to take the arguments of the 99% into account. Members of the Clubs exercise their moral right to use power against powerful people who misuse their power for their own benefit, disregarding the interests of The People.
People are often organised in small circles, in the family, their work, their hobbies etc. But in political questions they only act in mass actions. People know they are only a small element in the big society. They do not expect too much from their small activities. Their actions are hardly visible, it are small pin pricks against mighty leaders. When the number of pricks grows over time pressure mounts and suddenly the pricks become very painful. It causes a jump in the social situation, it brings about a small revolution in the privileged life of the attacked 1%. When activists see the result of their actions their self-consciousness increases. They have achieved something that they never should have achieved when they had been active as a small element in a big demonstration.
Small is beautiful. Society is dominated by big entities. Private corporations and public institutions have grown tremendously in the last fifty years and obscure how the 1% take decisions, making it more difficult to control what they do, making it less transparent. The centralised control by the 1% restricts the creativity and the individuality of the 99%.
The action world copies what happens in the big world. Centralised control is strengthened and make it more difficult for activists to control what action leaders do. Trade unions have become huge organisations on which individual members have hardly influence. Environmental groups have also taken this path. Leaders of these organisations are embedded in the system and real change cannot be expected from these organisations. The income of leaders depends too much on money that is provided by the sitting powers. When they demand too much they may lose their place and their income. Their first task is controlling the 99%, caring for it that common citizens do not become too dangerous for the rule of the 1%.
The influence of rank and file activists in huge political meetings or demonstrations is minimal, everyone has to agree with guidelines issued by seemingly all-knowing action leaders. Discussions about action tactics in Occupy (when the order came from above that all actions must be non-violent) were one of the reasons that the movement fell apart.
Small organisations in which activists control their own activities promote the creativity and individuality. “Let hundred flowers bloom and let hundred schools of thoughts contend” (Mao Tse-tung). The basic idea should be the same, a revolution towards a world without a 1%. The safety of activists should also stand central and is reached when activists themselves decide how and where they are active. In demonstrations and other mass actions leaders decide in backrooms about the place and the method that must be used.
There are many different action methods, tactics and targets dependent on the ideas and the possibilities of activists. Trust the masses, they do it right, in each case not worse than selfish leaders. Mass people can be trusted more than greedy leaders in public, private and political sectors who think in first place of safeguarding their place in the top of society.
The 99% have not yet the means to exercise direct power on decision-takers. They transfer their power to elected people who are immune for any influence from the masses. Elected representatives live far from The People and represent the interests of the top of society. Most leaders are not elected and the influence of the 99% on their decisions is close to zero. That is why measures to solve the financial crisis have severely hit the 99% while the position and the wealth of the 1% has improved.
Mass actions hardly impress political leaders. Not-elected leaders do not listen to what happens in the world of the 99%. They live comfortable in their privileged and extravagant world and are not interested in what happens down under where the 99% produce the articles the 1% want. Autonomous Clubs are a new means to end the inequality in power and money.
The failing successes of mass actions force the 99% to look for new means to increase their power and to prevent that the top enriches itself still more. In mass actions all people act in the same way, in a multitude of Autonomous Clubs masses act on many different ways using their initiative and creativity. Many Clubs exert together a big pressure on faulty leaders. Autonomous Clubs penetrate in the eliteworld and make that world uninhabitable. It forces the 1% to descend to our world so that all people have the same status.
The wealth distribution has deteriorated in the last fifty years – the 1% got more wealth. Also in other fields differences are growing. In education, the possibility to be on a prime place in big events (sky boxes), high subventions for classical music and other elitist recreation activities, the knowledge to have a life-long high income, getting more money by corrupt means (corruption of the top is hardly prosecuted), the treatment in courts (there is hardly punishment for stealing public or private money by the top), etc. Two different worlds exist, the often harsh world of the 99% and the safe, exclusive world of the 1% where decisions are taken over the 99%. The 99% cannot take decisions that influence the world of the 1%. Another inequality! The central question is how The People can get more power, how the 99% can take the power and the money away from the 1%. Therefore we need the second Golden Rule for Actions: “Attack only the 1%!”
Democracy restricts and even blockades people to become active. They propagate that people should trust that elected representatives defend their interests but the 99% have hardly influence on what elected do. CEO’s and owners of corporations in the private and directors of institutions in the public sector are never elected. The 99% have no power instruments to influence these people. Something else is needed for common citizens to protect their freedom and well-being against decisions from people higher-up. Something that gives The People an independent power.
Actions of the past have been proven insufficient. About victories Jean-Paul Marat said: “Despite their defeats, the princes do not lose anything”. The successful guerrilla wars in countries like China, Vietnam and Cuba point in another direction. They had however one important shortcoming, after the victory people were again controlled by privileged circles and did not use the guerrilla method against the new 1% that resembled the Western 1%. Guerrilla tactics, a War of the Flea, should be used but have to be refined and improved. In past revolutions guerrilla became a war between two centrally organised armies and leaders on both sides were hardly targeted. The old guerrilla wars violated the Golden Rule for Actions that damage to the 99% must be minimal and pressure on the 1% maximal.
Jean-Paul Marat propagated in the French Revolution small clubs:
”Patriotic Clubs will only pay attention to people in the civil services and unite the forces of the people in order to make up for the grievances of citizens. They will punish the agents of the authorities who are guilty, stop the continuation of their bad deeds and safeguard the well-being of the people …… but we will never be a club that is involved in the process of making decisions. That should be a serious mistake: a free union of citizens is not allowed to meddle in public affairs, to govern or to administrate. That must be clear: a club has only the simple and pure right to make propositions, to give advice and to ask questions. But when the freedom and the safety of the people is attacked it is not only advisor but also agitator, censor, punisher and even killer ……”
Patriotic Clubs, I call them Autonomous Clubs, are a new instrument to change power relations. The members of the Club choose themselves how, where, when, about what, with whom and against whom they become active. Many Clubs generate a constant stream of small unexpected and effective actions against targets who are forced to take the activities of the Clubs into account. The Clubs pressure people who take wrong decisions for their own benefit. Clubs dissolve after they have had some success. Former members can join another Club or return to their private life. The People do not need permanent structures, they need a possibility to move when they want to move. In a Humane Society Autonomous Clubs are the Fourth People’s Power that controls, vetoes and punishes faulty leaders to stop corruption and other crimes of the leading class that cause too much misery.
In my book ”The Power of the Autonomous Human, theory and practice of attacks on persons”I describe several actions and some (small) successes. People, including me, who participated in those actions got more self-esteem because they know they had become less dependent on the caprices of the people up there.
The action method is called Political Stalking, Small Violence or Creative Disturbance. (see Chapter 19 of“About Violence and Democracy, in search for an alternative for democracy”). It is an original method to impress your opinions on decision-takers. Political parties are obstacles and exist in the first place to control the masses. The media are only important in conflicts inside the elite. In conflicts between elite and masses they side with the elite because they are owned by the 1%.
Autonomous Clubs must never degenerate into political organisations. Then they become, as Roberto Michels already remarked a hundred years ago, institutions that obey the Iron Law of Oligarchy.After some time an elite controls the organisation. The dynamics of many active and unpredictable Clubs fundamentally changes society. Then a Humane World comes into existence where all people have the same status and have influence when they want it.
Joost van Steenis